Eight wrestlers head to Tacoma Dome for Mat Classic
A new-look Mat Classic awaits eight members of the Quincy boys wrestling team.
The snow canceled the regional tournaments statewide, so now the eight wrestlers who qualified for regionals will represent the Quincy Jacks at state.
Mykenzi Realme, Victor Mata, Jose Avila, Damion Casillas, Ruben Vargas, Salvador Chavarin, Hunter Harrington and Nate Ramirez all leave for Tacoma on Thursday morning.
At the Tacoma Dome, they will face a 32-man bracket, rather than the regular 16.
With more wrestlers and fans and parents to put inside one building, tournament organizers have split the tournament in half, with B schools, 1A schools and 2A schools wrestling in the morning, starting at 8:30 a.m. and the girls, the 3A schools and the 4A schools westling in the afternoon, starting around 2:30 p.m.
The Quincy boys are taking all these changes in stride, head coach Greg Martinez said.
“We had a good week of practice and I’m really excited about this 32-man bracket,” Martinez said. In a way, he added, this 32-man bracket is more fair than the 16-man bracket.
Wrestling in the CWAC and in the district 5-6 regionals is so tough that a lot of deserving wrestlers lose one or two matches at regionals and don’t make the cut to state. This 32-man bracket takes care of that, Martinez said.
This bigger bracket will also allow the wrestlers from east of the Cascades to show how tough the region really is. Martinez said he expected to see at least one weight class with five of the eight medaling wrestlers coming from the east.
The Jacks are taking eight wrestlers and that ties a school record, Martinez said.
“Now we will see if we can win some matches and make some noise,” he added. Coming back from Tacoma with four medals would be a great weekend, he said.
Wrestlers wrestle two championship rounds and three consolation rounds on Friday, so those who lose in the first or second round of the championship bracket may have to wrestle four times within a six-and-a-half-hour span to qualify for Saturday, Martinez said.
“If you lose your first or second one you are going to have to win three more,” to finish in the top eight and take home a medal, Martinez said.
On one hand, wrestlers will have to win more matches to place, but on the other hand, the opponents will be weaker than in a 16-man bracket, Martinez said.
All wrestlers are newcomers to the tournament. Ruben Vargas qualified last year but did not compete for disciplinary reasons, so this is a first for everybody.
Chavarin opens his tournament as a senior facing sophomore Kade Merrick of Prosser. The winner will wrestle the winner of the match between Franklin Pierce’s Hayden Hall and Burlington’s Freddy Yeates.
Chavarin’s fellow senior Nate Ramirez will open his state tournament logbook with a match against Othello’s Nathan Garza, Jr..
The winner will wrestle the winner of the match between Jonnie Rosmaryn of Steilacoom and Grant Abrams of Port Angeles.
Another 12th-grader, Victor Mata will wrestle Andres Aguilera of Toppenish, with the winner facing the winner of the match between Noah Donner of Bellingham and Ben Olebar of Renton.
Harrington will start by facing Henry Rinehart of Ellensburg. The winner will face the winner of the match between Nathan Kilmer of Rochester and Ian Johnson of Longview.
Avila will face Ben Smith of Clarkston in the first round. The winner will face the winner of the match between Gavino Rodriguez of Blaine and Eric Campbell of White River.
Vargas will face Tyge Taylor of Ellensburg. The winner will face the winner of the match between Caden Hicks of Tumwater and Andrew Darr of Washougal.
Mykenzi Realme wrestles Gaje Caro of West Valley-Spokane in the first round. The winner will wrestle the winner of the match between Sedro-Woolley’s Aidan Franklin and Lindbergh’s Marquis Gallegos.
Casillas will wrestle Michael Bozeman of Cheney.. The winner will wrestle the winner of the match between Renton’s Minh Le and Burlington’s Aaron Fisher.
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org